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November 14, 2017

Jon Stewart on Louis C.K.: 'You feel anger at what he did to people'

As some of entertainment's biggest names spiral into disgrace, it's often the reactions among industry peers that tell a more important story than canceled film premieres and halted productions.

Even before Harvey Weinstein's public exposure, few would have considered "Hollywood" an unspoiled culture. Some of its charm is inherently about pushing real boundaries from imaginary spaces, or else no one would have hailed Louis C.K. as such a brutally honest comic for searing bits about abortion and suicide. 

His handle on deviant modern thinking seemed so pure an exam of shame that it took five years of momentum behind these masturbation allegations — and a clear tipping point in our mindset about sexual harassment — to get something decisively damning published in The New York Times. 

Over the past few days, one of comedy's presiding godfathers, Jon Stewart, has been asked for his reaction to what's going on with Louis C.K., a close friend who was pulled from Stewart's upcoming HBO special "Night of Too Many Stars."

Stopped on the street by TMZ, Stewart said he agreed with HBO's decision and insisted that "not everyone in Hollywood is a scumbag." Asked whether he thought Louis C.K. could ever revive his career — the questioner argued C.K.'s actions were "different" from Harvey Weinstein's, for example — Stewart replied that it's really not the concern right now.

In another appearance on "The Today Show," Stewart opened up a bit more about what it means to be friends with a person and trust their character while he conceals indefensible behavior. Stewart feels, based on a long friendship, "anger at what [Louis C.K.] did to people." 

"A year ago, I was doing a podcast with David Axelrod and a man in the audience asked me about it," Stewart said of the C.K.'s then-alleged behavior. "I hadn't heard, at that point, of any of it. He said, 'What do you think of the allegations against Louis C.K., and my first response was, 'What?' and then joke, joke. And as he kept going, I was, 'Look, I know this is very serious. I know Louie. He's always been a gentleman' — to me, which, again, speaks to the blindness a man has."

Watch the full interview below.